Do you avoid anger because you think it doesn’t benefit you? If so, you’re not alone.
There are many reasons people bury their anger. These reasons can be cultural, having been taught that the needs of the group are more important than your own, or spiritual, having been told that religious people suffer quietly, or even familial, having been made to feel bad when you’ve thrown a tantrum as a child or shown your anger.
However, anger can be an indicator that something is wrong or is painful for you. By reflecting on your anger, and what is causing it, you may be able to identify deep sources of pain and set them free.
Why We Hide Our Anger
Early in life we learn social conditioning about what is good and bad. When we are angry and throw tantrums as children, we are often punished. This social conditioning teaches us that anger is a bad emotion to have and if you have it you should hide it.
Even as we become adults, we do not acknowledge anger as a legitimate emotion. Especially women are taught that anger is not an emotion that should be shared or acted upon.
Some people get defensive when confronted with anger, some get scared, and sometimes relationships are hurt or end over anger. The fears that have been instilled in us make it so we don’t want to let our anger out, no matter what the consequence.
How Can We Experience Our Anger Productively?
Anger is usually caused by some belief that your way is the right way and what is happening is wrong or unjust. You believe that something external is causing you to be angry.
However, every negative emotion, anger included, is a signal. If you take time to notice why the anger is coming up, you can open up a whole new area of self discovery.
For example, if you are spending time with a friend and you’re talking to them about something important to you and they interrupt or change the topic without responding to you, you might get angry.
When you try to notice where that anger comes from it may be because you don’t feel heard or acknowledged by your friend.
You could hide those feelings or you could be honest with your friend about wanting their feedback or acknowledgement, leading to a new pattern of behaviors as well as supporting the belief that you deserve to be heard or paid attention to.
When you reflect on your anger you may find deeper patterns or beliefs that are restricting you or are of no use to you. Through your anger you can identify your own belief patterns, your needs, and behavior strategies that you’ve been using (like being a people pleaser or not believing you deserve to be treated well).
Commit to Embracing Anger
When you reflect and are open to self-discovery, you can learn how you’ve been conditioned and what limiting beliefs you have about yourself and others.
By becoming aware of your own reactive patterning, you are free to break out of these patterns and choose reactions that are better for you as you grow and learn and live.